“I wanted to redefine and reimagine what people think the word diversity means. When people are different from you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re different in religion. It could be the diversity of thought, color, experiences, background, the way they were born, even the city, sometimes the streets. Sometimes I also think of diversity as the music one listens to, the movies that they look at, and the books that they read. So it’s a bigger thought process, it’s not about a Christian and a Muslim, it’s a more complicated issue,” says Essraa Nawar, presenter of Salon Essraa on CSAT.
Salon Essraa is a weekly TV show dedicated to highlighting inspiring stories of Egyptians abroad.
The show chooses untraditional guests who have not necessarily received awards or made popular accomplishments, but left a mark in their communities and are relatable to the public audience. Probably not popular outside of their circles, the interviewed individuals are equally inspiring.
Although the target audience is Egyptians, the show is completely produced, directed, and filmed in the US. The first season started two weeks ago.
Nawar explains to Egyptian Streets that the focus on Egyptians abroad was constantly directed towards engineers, doctors, or lawyers, with a disregard for other fields of work. Through her program, she focuses on showcasing the diversity of professions Egyptians have taken on outside of Egypt, such as artists, athletes, among others.
For years, Nawar has been a strong advocate for interfaith dialogue and promoting diversity.
She previously cooperated with Egypt’s Ministry of Emigration & Egyptian Expatriates’ Affairs in their Interfaith Dialogue program, which aimed to promote tolerance for different cultures and religions. As a Development Librarian, she also re-imagined diversity at the Leatherby Libraries, creating and implementing the first ever Library Diversity Statement and Plan, leading the library to receive its first-ever Diversity Award.
As a result of her work in promoting peaceful coexistence, the Coptic Satellite TV (CSAT) approached her to start her own show.
From divorce and mental health issues to teenage problems and identity crisis, Salon Essraa discusses untraditional topics and raises questions about subjects often considered taboo.
“I want to tell the story of Egyptian expats with a different lens,” Nawar tells Egyptian Streets.
On her first episode with Marina Nakhla, a disability advocate, she asked her about navigating dating life as a differently-abled woman, as well as the topic of fashion within the community.
“I want to disrupt the narratives more and more for people so they can look at others without having any preconceived notions of how each person should be behaving,” says Nawar.
The show airs every Wednesday, at 7 pm California time, and is repeated on Friday at 11 am.
Subscribe to the Egyptian Streets’ weekly newsletter! Catch up on the latest news, arts & culture headlines, exclusive features and more stories that matter, delivered straight to your inbox by clicking here.